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Cobb deserves centerstage

Sinclair Cambridge, Cambridge, Mass., September 23, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Brent Cobb has established himself as a top-shelf songwriter with cuts from the likes of Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert and a bunch of others. But unlike some songwriters, who probably are better off sticking to the written word, Cobb has showed yet again why he ought to be centerstage.

Cobb has toured heavily over the course of two commendable major label releases, opening a slew of shows for Chris Stapleton. And that's a good reference point for Cobb, who is more on the rootsy, swampy side ("Mornin's Gonna Come") with a tinge of country thrown into the mix. The Georgian sings with a decided drawl, and that swampy sound came through time and again over the course of 85 minutes.

Standouts included the percolating "Ain't a Road Too Long" and the more country sounding "Down Home," which he said was a surprise to him that people got off on a song about animals.

Cobb, once again, was aided by the most excellent guitar play of Mike Harris. The bear of a man with a long beard may grimace - a lot - as he plays, but his sinewy guitar playing understandably has that impact. Harris' playing was Allmanesque at times and fully gave the songs a whole lot of teeth.

Cobb also changed it up at the beginning and end starting off solo acoustic "Keep 'Em on Their Toes" and opening his encore with "Shine on Rainy Day," letting his vocals easily carry the material.

During his encore, Cobb was asked to play "Old Shit," a song Lambert recorded. "I don't know that one," he said with a smile. Truth be told, he didn't need to rely on his songs that others have recorded. Cobb stood tall with his own recorded songs just fine.

The National Reserve were an excellent fit for Cobb as the openers. The Brooklyn-based rock band, which some have labeled as Americana, was blessed with strong singing and presence from lead singer Sean Walsh. He also was part of a one-two guitar attack along with guitarist Jon LaDeau. They played off each other in a free-flowing set comprised of a passel of songs that held together over the long run. Drummer Brian Geltner was a most steady hand as well.

The band joined Cobb for the closing number of Waylon and Willie's drug infested "I Can Get Off on You." Well done and delivered on a night where both acts meshed together well and measured up.